Discover Sessions – new ways of working


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Taking what they learnt from an off the shelf system the National Maritime Museum developed a bespoke mobile learning system where the user drives the learning process.

Session: Mobile learning case studies

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  • Project a collaboration between the Learning team and the Digital Media team.Sessions part of a study day for key stage 3. The aim of the study days is to allow kids to improve their historical enquiry skills through the Museum’s collections.Links to history and citizenship curriculum.
  • Started mobile learning with a 3rd party systemUsing phones students would enter codes they found on gallery to find out more information about objects and collect them. They could take pictures of objects, make films and audio recordings.Our galleries are often not developed specifically to meet the needs of the learning sessions that would be run in them. The topics may be broader than what we would like to focus on, the text panels have not been written for them and they may rely on messages depicted in paintings are clear for the viewer. We wanted to be able to target them and meet their learning needs.
  • We found out that students really enjoyed using the system.3rdparty system evolved and moved away from what the Museum wanted to do with it so it was felt that the Museum could develop a system that worked specifically for its own galleries.
  • Evaluation has been built in to this project - front end, formative and summative. Constantly referring back to the user throughout the project.Building on what we had learnt from the 3rd party system. We talked to school groups.What would you like to do ongallery?The point was not to focus on technology it was about what users are interested in and what they wanted to experienceWhat would you want to do on gallery?Student response:-I would do a quiz.Do you like quizzes – No.Just from talking to that small sample of kids this seems to be what they expect from an on gallery experience. Hunting to find the right answer. We saw them moving around the galleries looking at the labels. It reminded me of those English comprehension tasks you do in school. We wanted to encourage them to look at the gallery and objects itself.Allow user to make their own paths and follow their own interests. They can investigate objects that they find interesting.We are not limiting them to what we want them to find out.We are not asking them to find the answer we are asking them to take a look at evidence on gallery and make their own decisions and conclusions.
  • We started building something for one gallery and then expanded it to 2. Something that works for one may not work for others so this encouraged us to take a more flexible approach to what we were producing.By building tools that can be fitted together in different combinations the system becomes more flexible. It allows us to run similar yet still individual activities on different galleries.We also built our on top of a system that we are using elsewhere in the Museum - Collections Information Integration Middleware (CIIM). This is our augmented data system for collections. It allows us to reuse any text, or media that we have in this learning system as link all the information back to its object all without confusing it with our curator research and written collections data.
  • 2 mobile learning activities built into a study day which will take about 45 minutes.The aim is to help them develop their own research skills, to evaluate evidence and develop an argument using the elements on gallery.
  • Students come to the galleryWe give them an introductory task in order to take advantage of their urge to explore the gallery. This is a new space for the kids so rather than try to get them to stop what they naturally want to and focus on a task we have we tried to take advantage of their wish to take a look around.They have to collect 5 items that they think are important in relation to the enquiry question.In The Atlantic Gallery they are setting their own questions as to what they want to find out. In our Traders gallery we are giving them a quote
  • Collect 5 things that show how the East India Company affected peoples lives in Europe and Asia.In groups of 2 or 3 we send them off around the gallery to take pictures of the objects that they think are important. We then call them all back together at the end of 15 minutes for the teacher to lead them in presenting their objects and reasons back to the class.
  • 2nd taskAtlantic we get them to set their a question in relation to their study day topic that they would like to research on gallery.
  • Traders groups are given different quotes that appear around the gallery.All of this is in keeping with their study day.
  • We set the groups off to go around the gallery once again to take pictures of object that they think either prove or disprove their question/quote. They are essentially building up an argument. They can take as many images as they like – we don’t want to limit them. They always have the option to remind themselves of what they are doing.
  • When users take a picture we are using optical search that pulls the Custom interpretation back from out system.We have provided additional content various media types, films, animation, audio recordings that help to explain difficult topics and bring the people to life.We have also given them links to other objects, both in the gallery and to items that didn’t make it to the gallery or are in stores.The aim is to helps them to make links to content that is relevant to them, to follow their own route through the information.Tags to encourage students to record their points of view and let us know what is important to them.
  • Students can add their own noteTagging and bookmarking are functionalities that the students are familiar with, almost expect.
  • Teachers are also a main user of these tablets.They shouldn’t be overlooked. They want to take part and join in.They want to be able to see how everyone is doing and interact with them.Engage the teacher – more likely that they are going to use them post visit and see the value in it.
  • Support the teacher in communicationManaging timing and contracting or extending the task to meet groups needs.Give everything that the students collected and noted to the teacher at the end as a powerpoint.
  • Encouraging user to look up from the screen and look at the actual objects.“I want to see the object in 3D” You are standing in front of it looking at it!Students are not making the differentiation between objects and graphics. They are seeing the gallery as a whole.Students aren’t reading the text. Developed videos to convey the task to them. Usability of the interface. We developed something originally that was very linear and unintuitive. Through user testing we changed this as kids very aware of how to interact with devices or easily picked things up. This is something that is continuing to be honed and developed now and in the future galleries.The obvious technical challenges of working with new technologies and getting to understand them– bugs, wifi, optical search.
  • Cross departmental team. Learning and Digital Media. Appointed external design company – KIN.Integrated as part of the project. Enhanced open communication – shared objectives. Learning from each other knowledge and expertise.Sounds obvious! Big thing to talk inter-department. Resulted in new roles, bridging the divide.
  • Discover Sessions – new ways of working

    1. 1. Discover Sessions at the National Maritime Museum Lucinda Blaser Digital Project Manager
    2. 2. Insert photo of the lounge For light images - insert full page image, right click on mouse and select ‘Send to back’2009: Started working with a third partysystem
    3. 3. • Students enjoy having control over their own learning and to tell their own stories• Motivated to engage with the exhibition• Became more focused during their visit• Could collaborate and learn from each other.
    4. 4. User focused developmentIf there was magic in the world what would you want to do in the Museum?
    5. 5. Build reusable tools
    6. 6. What are they up to?
    7. 7. Teachers Tablet
    8. 8. Challenges?
    9. 9. Ways of working